Mr. Movie

'The Devil's Double' an interesting biopic

While in power, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein used doubles to give the appearance of being everywhere.

They came in handy when the dictator thought his life might be in danger.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. His son Uday did the same.

-- Local show times, theaters, trailer.

Being the body double for men so vile wouldn’t exactly be a dream job. Some — such as Latif Yahia — had no choice but to play. For Saddam and his kids, you did as they asked or you and your family disappeared. The disappearance usually took the form of terrible torture and a violent death.

This violent and quite graphic biopic is from Yahia’s autobiographical novel. Novel? Does that mean parts are fiction? If it is, the fiction sections would likely be at film’s end where the plot deteriorates.

Completely true or not, there is likely enough truth to Latif’s story to give you a detailed glimpse of a psychopath at the top of his game and a reason or two to not feel so bad that both Uday and his dad are no longer among the living.

Director Lee Tamahori’s (Next) film rises and falls on an erratic screenplay from Michael Thomas, who penned 1985’s LadyHawk but hasn’t done much since.

After a teeth-grinding beginning and middle, the screenplay and film ultimately slows down and then fizzles. Dominic Cooper (Captain America) is riveting as the dual characters Uday and Latif. His performance alone makes the film worth catching.

Mr. Movie rating: 3 1/2 stars

Rated PG-13 for violence, mature themes. It opens Friday, September 9 at the Carmike 12.

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen

4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.

3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.

2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.

0 stars: Speaks for itself.